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Aberdeen, affectionately known as “The Silver City” or “The Granite City”, is a thriving and bustling city nestled in the northeastern corner of Scotland. For those considering making a move to Aberdeen, this comprehensive guide will delve into every nook and cranny of life in this wonderful city from the perspective of a local living in the city for the last ten years.
The City and Its History
Aberdeen’s granite architecture, which shimmers in the sunlight, earning it the nickname “The Silver City”, gives the city its unique, timeless charm. Its roots trace back over 8,000 years, back to the times of hunter-gatherers. From its position on the North Sea, Aberdeen has seen the comings and goings of Romans, Picts, Vikings, and more, each leaving an indelible mark on the city.
The city’s rich maritime heritage is evident in its vibrant harbourside, while its significant role in the North Sea oil industry has left it with a diverse, cosmopolitan population. Its historic prosperity is also evident in the city’s rich cultural scene, with an abundance of museums, galleries, and theatres that delve into the city’s history and its modern cultural identity.
Cost of Living
Aberdeen offers a range of housing options, from city-centre apartments to suburban family homes. In the city centre, expect to find traditional Victorian and Georgian homes, along with modern flats and apartments. The average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the city centre ranges from £500-£750 per month.
If you venture out into the suburbs, you’ll find a variety of properties from modern housing estates to quaint villages. Rent here can be a bit cheaper, with an average cost of £400-£600 per month for a one-bedroom flat.
If you’re on the lookout for a property then the best place to start would probably be on ASPC. It’s the portal that shows pretty much every property that’s on the market in Aberdeen for sale and rental.
Best areas to live in
Putting down the best areas to live in seems something very subjective as everyone has a different experience and your home is what you make of it.
Many people would say that places like Rosemount, with its independent shopping and coffee culture is one of the best places to stay, but it’s also very very central and has a high volume of traffic passing through as well as opportunistic crime.
Another highly sought after area would be Ferryhill or the West End. Typically you will pay slightly above average for a flat in these areas in comparison to others.
As you head further out of the city centre, you have places like Torry which are very affordable and can quite often offer you much more for your budget.
Much of what you read online will tell you to avoid places like Torry, but again, no part of town is absolutely perfect so don’t write anything off without exploring and area and getting a feel for it yourself.
Utilities and Other Expenses
Utility costs in Aberdeen generally align with the UK average.
For a standard two-bedroom flat, you can expect to pay about £150 per month for electricity, gas, and water combined.
The cost of broadband internet can range from £20 to £40 per month, depending on the provider and the package you choose.
Much of Aberdeen are now connected to the cityfibre system allowing you to get FTTP, which means you can get incredible fibre broadband speeds directly to your property. I think the maximum speed at the moment is 900mbps upload and download.
When it comes to food, Aberdeen boasts a range of supermarkets where you can find all the essentials, along with farmers markets selling locally sourced produce.
Dining out is a delightful experience, with restaurants offering a range of cuisines, with the average meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around £15-£25 per person.
Job Market and Opportunities
Aberdeen’s economy has traditionally been bolstered by the oil industry, providing ample opportunities in engineering and energy roles. The city is home to several multinational energy companies, alongside a host of small and medium-sized enterprises specialising in offshore technologies.
However, Aberdeen’s job market isn’t solely dependent on oil. The city is a hub for life sciences research, food and drink production, tourism, and agriculture. It also boasts a thriving digital tech sector, making it an appealing location for tech professionals.
Moreover, Aberdeen’s position as an educational centre – with the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University – offers opportunities in academic and support roles.
Aberdeen’s public transportation system is reliable and extensive, providing easy navigation within the city and to other parts of Scotland.
First Bus operates the city’s bus services, with routes covering the city centre, suburbs, and even the Aberdeenshire countryside.
First bus are however much more expensive than many other city bus options elsewhere in Scotland.
If heading out of Aberdeen, then you’ll likely take a Stagecoach bus or Citylink, Megabus and Flix bus if doing inter-city travel.
ScotRail services connect Aberdeen with other Scottish cities, such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. If you’re planning to travel further afield, Aberdeen Airport offers domestic and international flights.
For cyclists, Aberdeen has been making strides in developing cycling infrastructure, with several dedicated bike lanes and paths. The city is also part of the national cycle network, with routes leading out into the picturesque Scottish countryside.
Families moving to Aberdeen will be pleased to know that the city has an excellent educational infrastructure. There’s a range of primary and secondary schools, many of which have received favourable ratings from Education Scotland.
For higher education, there are two prominent institutions – The University of Aberdeen, one of the oldest universities in the UK with a world-class reputation, and Robert Gordon University, known for its vocational and professional courses.
Leisure and Activities
Aberdeen offers a wealth of leisure activities. Its sandy beach stretches for two miles, complete with an esplanade filled with places to eat and activities like the Codonas amusement park.
There’s also a wide range of Sports venues that are accessible with the Sport Aberdeen membership at a fantastic price for the value that it delivers.
The city is home to a host of parks and gardens, including the stunning Duthie Park with its Winter Gardens. Aberdeen also hosts festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from jazz to science.
Aberdeen’s cultural scene is vibrant, featuring live music venues, art galleries, and theatres. The city boasts several shopping centres, along with boutique shops.
For those interested in outdoor activities, Aberdeen serves as a gateway to Scotland’s Highlands and is close to famous whisky distilleries, offering ample opportunities for day trips.
Aberdeen generally boasts a low crime rate compared to other UK cities. The city centre and residential areas are typically safe, but it’s always sensible to take precautions, particularly when walking alone at night.
Aberdeen experiences a temperate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Its position on the east coast of Scotland means it’s often subjected to sea breezes, which keep the temperature relatively moderate. While Aberdeen isn’t known for its sunshine, when the sun does appear, it illuminates the city’s granite buildings, creating a beautiful sparkle.
Most of the time, you’ll be subject to overcast skies, misty drizzle and a good bit of wind.
Aberdeen offers a high quality of life, with its robust job market, excellent educational opportunities, vibrant cultural scene, and stunning natural surroundings.
Its cost of living can be higher than other Scottish cities, but many find the advantages that come with living in Aberdeen to be well worth it.
Whether you’re a student, a professional, or looking to retire, Aberdeen certainly deserves serious consideration.